HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The Rockets struck the first blow in their playoff series against the Mavericks, winning Game One, 118-108.
James Harden finished with 24 points and 11 assists. Jason Terry added 16 points, including four three-pointers. Seven Rockets scored in double figures.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 24 points and eight rebounds.
The Rockets started the game hot, which was appropriate given the real flames being shot in the air with each player’s name during the introductions. After Nowitzki scored to give Dallas a 2-0 lead, Houston scored the next nine points for a 9-2 lead. When Terry hit back-to-back jumpers midway through the quarter, the Rockets had themselves a 19-6 advantage. By the end of the first, the Rockets had themselves a 32-19, outshooting the Mavs 63 percent to 30 percent.
The Mavs, however, came back in the second quarter, taking the lead 42-40 with just over four minutes remaining in the half. Houston came back with a mini push of their own to grab the 59-55 lead at the half. At the break, Harden had 12 points and seven assists.
Just as they did in the first quarter, the Rockets got off to a quick start in the third. Houston scored the half’s first six points to break open a 10-point lead. Then, midway through the third, Clint Capela threw down an alley oop to open up a 80-66 Rockets lead.
Again, though, the Mavs would not go away. Monta Ellis sunk a trey at the third-quarter buzzer to cut the Rockets lead to 84-77. Then, early in the fourth, the lead would dwindle to five points. At the 9:14 mark, Trevor Ariza hit a long two at the shot clock buzzer to put the Rockets up nine, 90-81. That set off a series of made shots by Corey Brewer and then Pablo Prigioni to get the lead back up to double digits. Brewer caught fire in the fourth, scoring 13 of his 15 points in the final quarter. Dallas never seriously threatened and the Rockets had their victory.
Game Two takes place Tuesday night at 8:30pm CT at Toyota Center.